The Month in WordPress: January 2021
For WordPress, 2021 started on a high note. Read on to learn about updates from last month.
WordPress release updates
WordPress project executive director — Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) shared big picture goals for WordPress in 2021. Highlights include shipping Full Site Editing — first on the Gutenberg plugin in April 2021 and later in core (with WordPress 5.8), improved learning opportunities on learn.wordpress.org, and better tooling for contributors. As per the updated WordPress roadmap, WordPress version 5.7 is planned to launch in March 2021 and WordPress 5.8 in June 2021. Some related updates:
- Contributor teams are working on an updated admin color palette for WordPress 5.7 that will be more accessible and easy to read.
- The Core team is working on a proposal to align WordPress release cycles with industry standards.
- WordPress 5.6.1 Release Candidate 1 is out. This release is set to launch by February 3, 2021. Questions and answers for WordPress 5.6 are now available on GitHub. Contact the #marketing channel in the WordPress Slack, if you would like to contribute.
- The WordPress 5.7 Beta 1 release is out! Download the zip file or use the beta tester plugin to test it out.
Proposal to return to in-person WordPress events in safe locations
The Community team is discussing an updated proposal to create a decision-making checklist for meetup organizers. The proposal is aimed at locations that have more effectively contained COVID-19 (such as New Zealand and Taiwan, for instance) so that local meetup groups in these areas can organize safe, in-person events. According to the proposal, in-person meetup organizers should review local/global health instructions based on resources and complete a checklist — which recommends whether to organize an event or not based on the organizer’s inputs and other factors. Compulsory safety precautions should be taken for any in-person meetup, and participants/organizers can share event feedback with WordCamp Central. The proposal is still being discussed, so if you have any thoughts, please share them in the comments. Please note: WordPress meetups and WordCamps are still online at this time and will continue to remain online until further notice.
Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a local WordPress community event, visit the handbook page.
Gutenberg 9.7 and 9.8
Contributor teams released Gutenberg Version 9.7 on January 6th and Version 9.8 on January 20th. Version 9.7 allows users to drag block patterns from the inserter right into a desired position within the editor. It also has a new block variations feature and several improvements to reusable blocks. Version 9.6 makes the spacer block semi-transparent, adds a variation icon to the block switcher, adds site editor content to an iframe, and stabilizes Full Site Editing (FSE) by removing the auto drafts feature.
Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. You can find out more about the Gutenberg roadmap in the latest What’s next in Gutenberg blog post.
Inviting Learn WordPress Contributors
Contributor teams working on the Learn WordPress initiative are asking for new workshop presenters and discussion group facilitators. The Training Team is recruiting volunteers for the Learn WordPress handbook and has put up a call for testing for the slides plugin to identify a simplified way to present slides. The Polyglots Team has floated a proposal to translate Learn WordPress. The Meta Team is exploring the possibility of making Learn WordPress (and wordpress.org) COPPA-compliant to host workshops aimed at kids.
- Round 1 of the Full Site Editing (FSE) outreach program has wrapped up. As a result, gaps were identified in the Gutenberg 9.6 template-switching experience – you can follow the issues in GitHub. You can follow issues in GitHub and submit questions to the team. The program identified gaps in the current template-switching experience that shipped with Gutenberg 9.6. You can follow the issues reported in GitHub. Do you have questions about the FSE program? You can now submit it to the Test team.
- People of WordPress — A cross-team initiative led by the Marketing team to highlight WordPress contributors is back with a post featuring Thelma Muelte of Zimbabwe. If you are an active contributor to a WordPress.org team or a local WordCamp, contact the Marketing Team with the #ContributorStory tag to be featured in the series.
- Joseph Haden (@chanthaboune) launched a podcast titled WP Briefing which is aimed at WordPress users, builders, and contributors of all levels. The podcast – which is available on all major platforms, will include overviews of WordPress philosophy, community success stories, and major updates.
- The Plugin team has added a requirement that plugins in the WordPress repository must not make changes to the default auto-update settings on a site. The only exception to this requirement is for those plugins that manage auto-updates.
- WordCamp India 2021 — a regional online WordCamp has begun. It’s running over three weekends and started with Multilingual workshop sessions on January 30 and 31. The workshops can be found on the event site and will soon be featured on Learn WordPress. Tickets are still available for the event —which will have a contribution event on February 6-7, followed by sessions on February 13th and 14th.
- The WordPress Foundation has invited applications for online do_action hackathons and encouraged folks to organize online open-source workshops in 2021.
- The Themes Team shared a post on the usage of the “Report this theme” button in 2020. The team is also looking for maintainers for its Theme unit test.
- The Meta Team has launched an initiative to facilitate automated theme testing and is requesting feedback.
- Members of the Core Team are considering a “stale bot” to close out stale issues in the Gutenberg GitHub repository.
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